19-year-old Ruben Loftus-Cheek is the one academy player who had impressed Jose Mourinho the most, among a huge pool of talent. And while Fiorentina want him on a loan deal for the upcoming season, it looks unlikely that Jose Mourinho will let him go. So let us take a look at how Ruben Loftus-Cheek will fit into this season’s squad, and how Jose may choose to use his strengths.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who has been with Chelsea since joining the Under 8 team, has starred in two FA Youth Cup winning sides, the last time as captain. Although the youngster is a long way away from being a first team regular, Loftus-Cheek may get a significant amount of game time in the coming season, considering Chelsea will be challenging for all the trophies.
Primarily a central midfielder, Ruben Loftus-Cheek is very good at breaking up the opponent team’s play. Sitting right in front of the defense, Loftus-Cheek has the ability to destroy the opponents’ gameplay with well-timed tackles and to take the ball right off the players’ feet. He, just like most renowned defensive midfielders, comes down to collect the ball from the defense, and then uses his sharp vision to distribute the ball from midfield. With a 6 feet 4 inch frame, Loftus-Cheek is, one can say, the English Matic.
Chelsea do possess a real Matic in their midfield, who is more often than not, partnered by Cesc Fabregas. But we have seen Jose use Fabregas up front, right behind the striker, especially when Oscar was having a rough patch in the second half of last season. And that his when, Loftus-Cheek may come in handy. With Mikel’s future uncertain, Loftus-Cheek seems the perfect partner for Matic in the heart of midfield. Comfortable in possession, Ruben showed real tackling ability against Liverpool last season, and may feature a bit more this season.
Ruben has been lauded for the use of his frame to impose his physicality in midfield. His ability to win aerial balls, and tackle opponents out of possession has prompted people to compare him with French and Arsenal legend Patrick Viera. Ruben also has the habit of driving forward with the ball and shooting from distance. When in need, he can be used as an attacking threat as well, just like Essien.
If and when, Oscar and Fabregas are absent due to injury, or suspension, a midfield trio of Matic, Ruben and Ramires would be a perfect fit. And in case of Matic’s absence, Ruben, with a little more maturity, can be a natural replacement, without Jose having to play defender Zouma in midfield. Ruben himself stated that he follows Matic’s game to develop his style of play, and if he is successful at emulating the Serbian Spider, he may well be the next big thing from the Academy, after John Terry.
With a long season ahead of us, where Chelsea will be looking to defend the Premier League crown, as well as do well in Europe. With the FFP in full force, Chelsea will be looking to use academy talent. A midfielder of the quality of Ruben Loftus-Cheek might just turn out to be a gem.
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Edited By: Karan Dubey
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